Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's 65th wedding anniversary

After the Diamond Jubilee, marking Her Majesty's 60 years of reign as Queen of Australia, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh can celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary today, but the royal couple have no plans for a major celebration.

The wedding on 20th November 1947 was one of the first joyful events after the horrors of WW II.

The Queen and the Duke will spend a quiet day together before carrying on with their duties for the rest of the week, including a joint visit to Bristol on Thursday and official engagements for the Duke tomorrow and on Friday.

It is a landmark which no other British monarch has achieved, and one which may never be surpassed.

During a luncheon to celebrate their golden wedding in 1997, the Queen paid a rare but heartfelt tribute to her husband, who holds the record of being the longest-serving consort in British history. She said: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.

2007: The Royal Family gathered for the Diamond Wedding anniversary.

It does not come as a surprise that the Blue Sapphire  Wedding anniversary of the Queen of Australia and the Duke of Edinburgh was widely ignored by Melbourne's newspapers. While Murdoch's Herald Sun published not a single hint on the anniversary of our Monarch, The Age published one line on page 16: "Britain's future queen, Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten at London's Westminster Abbey." A couple of German daily newspapers published the news on the front page, as an example here the cover of the Rhein-Zeitung (Koblenz/Mainz). See also the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Eiserne Hochzeit im britischen Königshaus.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Belgium's Prince Philippe arrives in WA

WAtoday, published by Fairfax media, has noticed that the heir to the Belgian throne as touched down in Western Australia: Belgium's Prince Philippe arrives in WA: "Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium has touched down in Perth ..."

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Economic Mission led by HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium in Australia and New Zealand

The heir to the Australian throne has barely left and now another heir to a crown is to arrive in Australia: HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium is to visit Australia and New Zealand from 18th to 30th November.

His Royal Highness leads the Belgian Economic Mission of 147 businessmen and women, representing 91 companies. Compared to the last mission to Australia and New Zealand in 2002, an impressive increase of 250% has been noted in terms of business participants and 62.5% with regards to participating companies. Together with 31 official delegates and 6 journalists, the delegation counts up to 184 members in total.

This royal visit will attract far less attention than the tour of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The Duke of Brabant - the Belgian heir's official title - will meet with Australian business people and politicians only. There will be hardly any opportunity for the public to see the Belgian Prince. After he arrives in Perth on 18th November the public may get a glimpse of him in Kings Park that afternoon  (3 to 4 pm). He will be received by HE Malcolm James McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia and WA's Premier Colin James Barnett MLA, but the media may well miss a photo opportunity because they wouldn't be able to recognise Prince Philippe.

The same fate may lie ahead for him in Sydney, where Prince Philippe and the Belgian Economic Mission are expected on 21st November in Sydney. In this city he has to brace for the rather anti-monarchist media who deal with royal guests only after they left and the media can complain about costs. Australian media rarely see the chance a royal visitor could mean for boosting the circulation or TV ratings. His Royal Highness and the Belgian Economic Mission will attend a reception hosted by the Honourable Barry O’Farrell MP, Premier of New South Wales, and visit the Sydney Opera House .

But establishing business relations between Belgian CEOs and Australian companies is not the only aim of Prince Philippe's tour down under. On 23rd November after meeting the Governor-General in Canberra the Duke of Brabant will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial followed by a round table on the Commemoration of World War I with the Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs and for Defence, the Honourable Warren Snowdon. The Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique pointed out that the Belgian Defence Minister Pieter De Crem is responsible for the preparations of the commemoration the Centenary of the outbreak of World War I. Nearly 60,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers died in Belgium. Passendale in Western Flanders (English spelling: Passchendaele) was a particularly murderous battle field. The Belgian government is seeking cooperation with Australia and New Zealand in organising commemorative events from 1914 onwards. Australia will also be asked to take a share in the financial burden that highly indebted Belgium does not want to shoulder alone. In July 2007 The Queen of Australia, The Duke of Edinburgh paid their respect to Allied soldiers killed in Passchendaele. Also attending the anniversary was the monarch's representatives in Australia, Governor-General Maj. Gen. Michael Jeffery, and New Zealand Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand. Canada was represented by Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson and Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice.
But the Belgian delegation does not only deal with economic and war matters. In Melbourne Prince Philippe will lead a group of university principles of the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) into talks with Melbourne University on 26th November. The prestigious francophone university wants cooperation in research projects. Representatives of Flemish universities are not in the delegation, because, as La Libre Belgique claimed they are too much engaged in Turkey to be interested in Australia. (Les universités flamandes, elles, ne se sont pas inscrites à la mission. Marc Bogaerts, directeur général de l’Agence du Commerce extérieur, justifie leur absence par leur forte participation en Turquie. Les universités francophones ont donc pris le relais.)

Before the delegation leaves for New Zealand, Prince Philippe will have meetings with HE The Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC, Governor of Victoria, and the Honourable Ted Bailleu MP, Premier of Victoria.

Belgium is not high on the Australian agenda. Imports from the European Kingdom rank 28th or 1.7 billion €. The Belgian delegation that is due to arrive tonight could benefit both countries. A hearty welcome to His Royal Highness Prince Philippe:
Monseigneur, soyez le bienvenu en Australie.

Biscuits made in Belgium deserve high praise as a delicious part of the 1.7 billion exports to Australia. They are available at Woolworths only before Christmas. Be assured: Even republicans like the "Jewels of Belgium".

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Prince Charles left Australia with "great sadness"

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Australia for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has come to an end in Canberra on 10th November 2012.

Their Royal Highnesses have experienced everything from an Aussie barbie with outback cattlemen to the excitement of the Melbourne Cup during their six-day trip to the nation.

The royal couple ended their Diamond Jubilee visit in the capital Canberra where they renamed a section of road close to the striking Parliament House - Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed The Prince and Duchess when they arrived at the thoroughfare which was lined with crowds and she paid tribute to The Queen's devotion to duty:
Your Royal Highnesses, I bid you a special welcome to our country and our capital.
To The Prince of Wales, you are a familiar visitor to these shores.
In you, the people of Australia know they have a true and sympathetic friend.

To The Duchess of Cornwall, I hope you have discovered the warmth of the Australian character and a land you will always feel welcome.

Since landing at Longreach on Monday, these have been days to explore and revisit the facets of our landscape and culture:

From the Outback, to the vineyards of South Australia, and the race that stops nation.

Now, we gather here in this capital to reflect on the bonds of history and affinity which made Australia the nation it is today.

The Father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes, called it the “crimson thread of kinship” and the associations are all around us.

Not far from here is found the writing table Queen Victoria used to sign into law the Constitution that led to the creation of this capital.

Up on Capital Hill meets the Federal Parliament first inaugurated by King George V as Duke of Cornwall and York in 1901.

A quarter of a century later, another Duke of York came to open these old Parliament buildings – a shy prince who came to show the ‘heart and stomach of a king’.

Like Your Royal Highness, he too was accompanied by a gracious Duchess. Your beloved grandmother.

It is a story also inscribed in the streets and parks of this beautiful zone where, one by one, the East-West terraces have been named in recognition of our monarchs since Federation: Queen Victoria Terrace, King Edward Terrace, King George Terrace.

Today, the symmetry is made complete with the naming of Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

At the same time, the green space in front of Old Parliament House and two roads either side will stand in honour of Sir Henry Parkes reflecting the mix of ancient tradition and contemporary democracy that underpin our constitutional order.

This place will be a lasting tribute to Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee inscribed forever in the architecture of this capital.

It will remind future generations that for more than half of our journey as a united nation, Elizabeth the Second has been our monarch.

No-one in the history of our Federation has shared more consistently in the affairs of our Commonwealth or followed them with deeper interest and goodwill.

As Canberra prepares for its centenary, it is fitting that The Queen’s life of duty is given recognition here in our nation’s heart and her wisdom and dignity are honoured among the people she has so faithfully served.

I thank Your Royal Highnesses for sharing this commemoration with us.

And I know you will convey to Her Majesty the sentiments we share in naming this place today.

No Head of State could be more worthy of this honour, and no nation could more freely or gratefully bestow it.
The royal couple went on a brief walkabout in the newly-named terrace, meeting people who had been waiting patiently.

Sisters-in-law Crystal and Leanne Tunningley, 33, were ecstatic after meeting The Duchess. Crystal, 28, from Canberra, said: "Camilla was saying she loved being in Canberra and it was so sad that she had to go."

Later The Prince and Duchess held a private meeting with the Queen's representative in Australia, Governor General Quentin Bryce and her husband Michael.

The Prince then held a series of talks in the imposing Government House, first with Ms Gillard, and then the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott, who said "it was a real thrill" to meet the prince.

In the grounds of the historic building a Diamond Jubilee buffet lunch, among the guests were leading politicians, including former prime minister John Howard, broadcasters, business leaders, sports personalities and arts figures. Mrs Bryce said after her accession to the throne in 1952, The Queen showed remarkable qualities.

She said: "In the six decades since across times of extraordinary and constant change a symbol steadfast - dignity, strength, a source of courage and inspiration to so many people."

In a short speech The Prince praised the volunteering efforts of many Australians - something that reflected the theme of the Diamond Jubilee, service to others.

The Prince, who confessed they would leave Australia with "great sadness", said: "These are the people of course who provide a glue to such a, I think, diverse and energetic and determined society.

"And from that point of view it has been a real joy for my wife and I to help celebrate that wonderful aspect of society in Australia.

"To pay a tribute, for what it's worth, to all these marvellous people, and to just thank them for all they do to make Australia such a very special place."

Before leaving for New Zealand, the final leg of the Diamond Jubilee tour, the royal couple paid their respects to Australia's war dead at the nation's war memorial on the eve of Remembrance Sunday.

More than 100,000 men and women have died serving the Commonwealth country since the First World War and The Prince placed a floral tribute at the monument to recognise their ultimate sacrifice.

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is an imposing sandstone-clad Byzantine style building with a copper-covered dome.

The royal couple walked into the Hall of Memories where the remains of a First World War serviceman are interred. At each corner of the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier stood a member of a ceremonial unit from the Australian Defence Force.

Above Their Royal Highnesses’ heads was an ornate dome and they were surrounded by lavishly decorated mosaic walls featuring more than six million coloured glass tiles in a design created by Australian artist Napier Waller. The Prince laid a large wreath on the tomb before the Last Post was sounded by a bugler and a minute's silence was observed.

In the memorial's open air commemorative area were written the names of Australia's fallen and the royal couple walked past the long lists stopping at the names of those who died on operations in Afghanistan. Before leaving the royals went on a brief walkabout to meet the crowds outside the memorial.

Even the Fairfax media acknowledged: Capital embrace a hit as royals leave their mark on the city.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Prince Charles supports the Australian Wool Innovation

Leaping lambs are an everyday site on farms but The Prince of Wales had to contend with a much older woolly jumper as he highlighted Australia's world leading wool trade.

The Prince watched as a sheep almost jumped out of a pen in its desperation to follow the rest of the flock during a visit to a Tasmanian holding on 8th November.

The Prince had come to learn how the Thornbury family produced highly-prized merino wool, used to make luxury knitwear, jumpers and cloth for Italian suits, on their Leenavale Sheep Stud.

His Royal Highness was sporting a grey pin-stripe double-breasted suit by Anderson & Sheppard made from a rare quality of Australian Merino wool. The Prince did well to keep the mud off his expensive trousers when he was taken into a pen by Brent Thornbury who, with brother Jason, is the fourth generation of his family to run the sheep stud which covers 5,000 hectares and has around 12,000 merino sheep.

They watched as the sheep were moved along a narrow run into a pen before going into a shed where they would be sheared. One enthusiastic farm dog called Zig, an Australian kelpie, jumped up and ran on to the backs of the sheep, which then began leaping into the air.

Inside the shearing shed, The Prince and Mr Thornbury watched shearers expertly snip off fleeces in three minutes.

Lucy Byers, 35, was gathering up the wool and skilfully tossing it on to a table to be graded by other workers. The Prince tried his hand at throwing the fleece and sheepishly said afterwards: "I didn't do it to well".

His Royal Highness is Patron of the Campaign for Wool, a global community of sheep farmers, manufacturers and designers aimed at educating people about the benefits of wool in everyday use and fashion he launched in 2008 to help boost the wool trade which was experiencing a drop in demand and falling prices. On 9th September 2011 the RadicalRoyalist had written on His Royal Highness' efforts: Prince Charles helps to promote Aussie wool,

The Prince mentioned the jumping sheep when he met well-wishers later in the Tasmanian city of Hobart during a brief walkabout in torrential rain.

A six-month-old trainee guide dog called Indi caught his eye and he joked with her handler Melanie Rowe, saying: "How do you stop them cocking their legs?"

Ms Rowe replied: "We were more worried about her jumping up," and The Prince said: "It's bad enough with merino sheep." Brent Thornbury said after showing The Prince around his stud: "He was great, very laid-back and interested in what we were doing."

He described how The Prince has his own holding where he breeds rare sheep, saying: "He's got a fair patch of his own and was very interested in having a look at what we do and the wool in general."

One day later The Prince also spent his day in Sydney highlighting the Australian wool industry at a Farm to Fashion event at the Museum of Contemporary Art. On the roof of the building which overlooked Sydney Harbour Bridge were fashion designers, retailers, students, wool growers and two merino sheep, prized for their fine wool, and a lamb.

The Prince again wore a suit made from Tasmanian merino wool and spent almost an hour chatting to people involved in various aspects of the textile industry.

His Royal Highness launched his own initiative, The Prince's Campaign for Wool in 2010 to promote the benefits of wool as a natural and sustainable fabric and to help struggling sheep farmers.

Friday, 9 November 2012

HRH Camilla Duchess of Cornwall's visit to Victoria Barracks, Sydney

As part of their 2012 Australian tour, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall visited Australian Defence Force bases in Sydney, NSW, on Friday 9th November.

During her visit to Victoria Barracks, Her Royal Highness, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall was appointed as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police, the first Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Corps of the Military Police in almost a century. The Royal Australian Corps of Military Police is a key element of the Australian Army; and Victoria Barracks is the home of Army's Forces Command.

Her Royal Highness took the royal salute and inspected the Royal Guard and the Australian Army Band.

The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech to the Royal Australian Corps of the Military Police
Published on 9th November 2012

Officers, Men, women of the Royal Australian Corps of the Military Police, It gives me enormous pleasure to address you today as your new and very proud Colonel-in-Chief.

This is a very exciting time for me not only because of the great honour you have done me but also because it is my first trip to Australia and I deeply regret having left it so late.

There has always been an association between members of the Royal Family and the Australian Army, including the appointment of Colonels-In-Chief to a number of Corps over the years.

Her Majesty The Queen is Colonel-In-Chief of the Royal Military Police, with whom you have close professional ties and shared lineage. And so I was very keen to know who my predecessor was.

I think you can imagine my delight and pride when I learned that in the prestigious 96 year history since your formation I have no predecessor and that I am, therefore and self-evidently, your first Colonel-in-Chief.

I want you to know the pleasure that gives me and that I am also very well aware of the significance and honour that comes with this very special appointment.

I am delighted to see that you are all wearing your rather dashing scarlet berets and wondered if the Colonel-in-Chief might possibly get to wear one, too?

For almost a century, the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police has earned an esteemed position in both the Australian Army and the wider community. In both war and in peace, you have provided outstanding service to the Nation. This is a record to be cherished. You are a regiment who provides a unique and often difficult role, not only overseas on dangerous operational duties to Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and elsewhere, but also at home where your constant professionalism is required on a daily basis, policing the Australian Army and wider Defence Force.

It seems to me you are never off duty - rather like my husband. But it is your families who provide you with peace of mind while you are away on long training exercises or overseas deployments. They provide the bedrock of support without which you cannot do such remarkable work. I do hope that I get to meet a number of you and, of course, your families today and over the coming years whenever I’m in Australia, which I hope will be often.

Please remember how much my association with you all, as Colonel-in-Chief, means to me and what interest and concern I have for you all. Your duty to serve as members of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police will always be ‘For the Troops and With the Troops’. I know you will have heard that many times before but I dare to say that is the first time you will have heard it from your Colonel-in-Chief.

Thank you.

Her Royal Highness Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, reviews the Military Police Royal Guard whilst on parade at Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Meet the Royal Couple in Canberra



11.40 am THR will arrive at the Queen Elizabeth Terrace, Parkes where they will unveil a plaque naming Queen Elizabeth Terrace

1.55 pm TRHs will attend a Diamond Jubilee Buffet Lunch, given by the Governor-General

3.45 pm TRHs will arrive at the Australian War Memorial

HisRH will lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier

Following which TRHs will leave for New Zealand

by RNZAF B757 Aircraft

Meet the Royal Couple in Sydney



10.00 am TRHs will leave by Admiral's Barge for Garden Island where HisRH will inspect the Federation Guard and Royal Australian Navy Band

11.40 am HisRH will arrive at the Museum of Contemporary Art where he will attend a Campaign for Wool event

11.40 am HerRH will arrive at the Victoria Barracks and will be escorted to Victoria Barracks Parade Ground. HerRH will be appointed as the Colonel-In-Chief Royal Australian Corps of Military Police

12.55 pm HisRH will arrive at the Bondi Icebergs, Bondi where he will attend a Reception given by the Premier of New South Wales to meet NSW Emergency Services Personnel

1.25 pm HerRH will arrive at Government House Sydney where she will attend a Women of the World Reception

2.00 pm HisRH will arrive at the Bondi Bathers' Lifesaving Club, Bondi

6.00 pm TRHs will arrive at the Sydney Opera House by Admiral’s Barge where they will attend a Diamond Jubilee Reception given by the Governor of New South Wales.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Second day in Melbourne for Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla

The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in Southbank, Melbourne. The young drummers started a noisy welcome beat for the royal couple.

HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall arrived in a car with the Australian coat of arms and a no. 1 on the number plate. Nothing could have been more appropriate for the future King and Queen of Australia.

After spending about an hour inside the school building the royal couple came across the street to greet the small, but enthusiastic crowd of spectators. HRH Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, charmed the Melburnians with her natural friendliness. She took time to chat with a couple of the crowd.

And then she was introduced to Bert, the French bulldog, who had already met HRH Prince Charles on the previous day at the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

Bert not only attracted the attention of the royal couple, but the media people were beside themselves when Their Royal Highnesses took delight in meeting Bert.

Thanks to Neville's quick writing this blog can give a firsthand account of Bert's encounter with the Duchess of Cornwall:

"After the success of meeting the Prince of Wales yesterday, I was not getting my hopes up for an equally fortunate day today. I was also very tired this morning (Bert was so exhausted from yesterday that he snored loud enough to wake the dead for most of the night). But after a quick breakfast we were ready to head back into town. We got on the train, which was packed with people on their way to work. Bert sat quietly at my feet; he's an old hand at train travel. We got to the National Gallery of Victoria just before 9:00 am with plenty of time to spare. The Premier's press release said the Duchess was accompanying the Prince to his engagement at the National Gallery, even though she was due to host a reception at Government House for Osteoporosis Australia. A member of Victoria Police confirmed that the Duchess was not accompanying the Prince. Nearby a member of the royal party heard my question and came over and told me that the Duchess was not going to join the Prince on his next engagement either; a visit to the Victoria College of the Arts Secondary School. I told her that I was a bit frustrated at the lack of information about the royal couple's itinerary. She agreed and said she did not know why things were so disorganised.

"As we had nearly an hour to fill in, I took Bert for a walk through the nearby gardens. We started at the Alexandra Gardens, cut through the Queen Victoria Gardens and ended up in King's Domain. On the way we passed the very impressive statues of King Edward VII and King George V. We even met another French Bulldog. His name was Gary and he could have been Bert's twin. At the gates of Government House I could see the Prince of Wales standard flying at the gate. Over Government House itself, however, the Governor of Victoria's standard was flying (well, it was actually hanging very limply in the listless breeze, but that does not sound very impressive). The Prince of Wales may be the future King of Australia, but the Governor of Victoria still outranks him when it comes who gets the main flagpole. Soon we were back at the National Gallery of Victoria. I remembered other royal visitors I had seen here over the years. In 1987 there was Queen Margrethe II, Prince Henrik and Prince Joachim of Denmark. Then in 2005 Crown Princess Victoria paid a visit (I wanted to say "welcome to the National Gallery of Victoria, Victoria, Victoria", but settled instead on a simple "welcome to Melbourne Your Royal Highness.")

"A small crowd had assembled, including a group of members of the British Parachute Regiment who now live in Australia. The Prince is their Colonel-In-Chief and he asked to see them. Also, a large group a school children was hijacked from their visit to the gallery to join the waiting crowd. Promptly at 10:00am the Prince of Wales arrived. Bert and I stood up the back to enjoy the atmosphere and watch him interact with the crowd, and, after remembering my phone, I even took a couple of photos. The Prince went into the gallery and the crowd began to disperse. I happened to walk past the member of the royal party I had spoken to earlier. She told me it was definite that the Duchess of Cornwall was not going to join the Prince at the school. I was very disappointed by this, but given their poor track record with accurate information, I decided to still go to the school and see what happened. I am very pleased that I did.

On the way to meeting a Duchess: Bert and his owner

"It took about ten minutes to walk to the school, and when we arrived there were only about ten people waiting, including our very own Radical Royalist (whose itinerary information was spot on). A very friendly Acting Sergeant came over to see what we were up to. I asked him if the Duchess was coming to the school with the Prince, "which Duchess?" he asked with a grin. "Yes", he confirmed, the Duchess was expected with the Prince. He then told us that "Royal Protocol" dictated that we could not take photos or talk to the royal couple. I think my somewhat incredulous expression surprised him, so he went off to confirm this odd regulation. He was back very quickly and told us to ignore what he had just said. Outside the school there was a troupe of drummers ready to beat a welcome to the royal couple, the media was all lined up, and about a dozen or so people, mainly from nearby offices, waited for the big moment. In a flash they arrived. The Duchess of Cornwall was most definitely in the car so I relaxed and got ready to enjoy the arrival. But, no; an Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer decided then to ask about Bert (calling him Killer). By the time we finished chatting the Prince and Duchess were inside the school. Never mind, I thought, there was still a chance of meeting them as they left.

"The Prince and Duchess spent about an hour in the school, but soon enough signs of activity indicated that they were about to depart. We were allowed to move out onto road and get closer to the car (by now the crowd had swelled to about twenty people). The Duchess came out first and headed straight for the car. For a brief disappointing second it seemed they were going to make a hasty departure for the airport (their next stop was Adelaide). But a few people in the crowd started yelling CAMILLA and, after a moment's hesitation, the Duchess headed over to say hello, followed close behind by the Prince. The media began to press in and I was again worried that the Duchess would not make it down to where Bert and I were waiting. So I picked up Bert, who seemed a bit surprised, and hoped for the best. Another AFP officer told me to stand back, but seemed content for Bert to be held up. Almost immediately the Duchess spotted Bert and came over to see him. She said hello to me, and shook my hand. I said "Hello, Your Royal Highness", but it was Bert who had her attention. "This is Bert" I told her. "Hello Bertie" she said as told her his name is Bert, and the Duchess patted him on the head and said "hello Bertie". She then told me that she used to have a Boston Terrier, and then went back to tickle Bert under his chin. I explained to her that Bert had met the Prince yesterday, but he really wanted to meet her. She seemed pleased and started to move on. At this point Bert started to get fidgety (he does not like be held) and with a quick twist he wormed himself free and dropped to the ground with a thud: right at the feet of the Prince of Wales (completely unhurt; he may be 15 kilos but he bounces like a ball). The Prince looked surprised and said "what was that?", he then glanced up and saw me. "Just us again", I told him, "Bert wanted to come and see the Duchess". He laughed a little and moved on. I don't think the Prince is, at heart, as much of a dog person as the Duchess obviously is. The royal couple got into their car, and with a final wave from both the Prince and Duchess, they departed for the airport.

The media loved the story of a Monarchist dog meeting the Duchess of Cornwall. Neville was quizzed by The Age's Tony Wright (right).

"Then the real madness broke out. Bert and I were swamped by reporters and photographers, all wanting to know his name and breed. There was a TV interview (which, thankfully, did not make it to the evening news) and a press interview (which did make it online). I was a bit worried that all the attention might go to his head, but Bert coped well. Finally, after our very busy morning, we were able to head for home. Bert has been sound asleep for several hours now, snoring deeply. He was dreaming about ten minutes ago, no doubt about his royal encounters, and his new-best-friend-forever, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall."

Tony Wright's article in The Age agreed, that "the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall devoted their visit to Melbourne on Wednesday to matters that consume their hearts - and while doing it, won the heart of a little dog.

The Duchess, who said she had watched her mother die in agony from osteoporosis - a disease that causes bones to become brittle and easily fracture - attended a reception at Government House intended to raise awareness of the disease.

It was, she said, the first thing she was determined to do when she knew she was coming to Australia.

The Prince, for decades a proponent of sustainable design for housing and community, took himself off to the Housing Melbourne Symposium at the National Gallery of Victoria to applaud Melbourne's architecture, the preservation of its tram system and the creation of new urban areas for community enjoyment. 'You have done a tremendous job in preserving the past and creating well-loved and well-used urban spaces in the present day,' he said. 'Unlike most cities around the world, Melbourne kept its tram system and improved it and is now considered a global leader.'

... members of the public stood in the street, but when the duchess - who owns Boston terriers - spied a French bulldog, she stooped to pat it. The dog's name, according to owner Neville Condron, a Coburg resident enthused by all things royal, was Bert.

'''Bertie,' cooed the duchess, possibly recalling Prince Charles's grandfather, and the re-named Bertie reciprocated by licking her hand.

'''Yes, Camilla was quite taken with Bert and Bert was quite taken with her,' said Mr Condron. Indeed, 'Bertie' had met Prince Charles during a function in South Melbourne only the day before, and the prince, giving the mutt a pat, had opined that 'one of these days, I'll get my hand taken off'.

'''Bert's more likely to lick your hand off,' Mr Condron said."

This is, what the Herald Sun had to say about this morning:

Camilla makes a good impression

"The duchess has been warmly welcomed at official events and has happily chatted with the small crowds that have turned out to greet her since arriving in Australia on Monday.

"'Camilla just seems so relaxed, people are warming to her and I think it's been long enough for memories to fade a little bit and I think she's off to a really good start.

"'I think Australians would like her sense of humour and enjoy the way she dresses. She's very relaxed with the crowd.

"'I think she's great and they look so happy together. It's a good thing.'

"Mr Condron took his French bulldog, Bert, to meet the royal couple, and the duchess was especially taken.

"'The duchess said she used to keep Boston terriers, which are a similar looking dog, not as cute as French bulldogs though, and she was just very taken with him and gave him a good pat and called him Bertie,' he said.

"'He was enjoying himself. He'll sleep well tonight.'"

Pia Akerman had this to write in The Australian

Trams and puppies the royal highlights

"Melbourne has won a place in Prince Charles' heart for its trams and architecture, but it's the canine residents which have brought a smile to Camilla's face.

"The Duchess of Cornwall meanwhile - known for her love of animals - has been keen to meet some of the dogs of Melbourne which had travelled with their owners for a glimpse of the royal couple.

"Outside a youth arts performance this morning, Camilla made a beeline for Bert the French bulldog, proudly held aloft by his owner Neville Condron.

"'I said, 'Don't worry, Bert would lick your hand off,"' Mr Condron said. 'She was very taken with him, and he was very taken with her.'
"The duchess told Mr Condron she had bred Boston terriers, similar to the French bulldog."

Meet the Royal Couple in Tasmania



12.10 pm TRHs will arrive at Richmond and will walk along Bridge Street

to the Woodcraft Shop

They will then proceed to Richmond Arms Hotel and will then walk along Edward Street to St Luke’s Anglican Church where they will plant a tree

1.05 pm HerRH will arrive at the Mill House where she will attends Reception with Tasmanian Rural Women

1.20 pm HisRH will arrive at the Leenavale Sheep Stud, Sorell where he will attends a luncheon in conjunction with the Campaign for Wool

2.40 pm HisRH will arrive and board the Aurora Australis (TBC)

3.50 pm TRHs will arrive at Salamanca Place, Hobart where they will walk along Salamanca Place visiting shops to Princess Wharf 1

4.05 pm THRs will attend a Diamond Jubilee Reception.

Meet the Royal Couple in Adelaide



1.20 pm TRHs are scheduled to arrive in Adelaide where they will proceed to the Kilkenny Primary School

2.45 pm THRs will arrive at Penfolds Winery

3.40 pm Arrive at Adelaide Convention Centre

5.00 pm TRHs will attend Diamond Jubilee Reception

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Prince Charles in Melbourne

His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, had his first encounter with Melburnians on this tour. This morning he visited the Australian Tapestry Workshop in South Melbourne and a fairly large crowd welcomed him, a well-orchestrated choir sang "We love you" and it seemed: They really meant it.

His Royal Highness received several bouquets of flowers and on his way inside chatted with bystanders.

The media scrum waiting for HRH's arrival.

Even when meeting royalty, Australians are casual.

Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu and his wife welcomed Prince Charles at the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

During the visit The Prince met children working on a joint project between the Australian Tapestry Workshop and his Prince's School of Traditional Arts.

His Royal Highness sat down amongst the local youngsters who had made a large geometric piece of artwork and spent a few minutes listening to them explain how they produced their work.

Find the prince... He is in there, somewhere!

Before leaving Prince Charles crossed the street to chat once again with members of the crowd.

Here's a report from Neville. He gave permission to post it.
Many thanks, Neville, and great you had a wonderful time in South Melbourne.

"After a humid, restless night of little sleep (thanks in no small part to my dog Bert snoring loud enough to wake the dead), I got up feeling tired and fractious. It was not hot this morning, just overcast and muggy. I decided to take Bert with me as he enjoys a good outing. So we got the train into Spencer Street and walked to South Melbourne, arriving with about an hour to spare before the Prince arrived. There were already people milling about, along with media crews and several Victoria Police officers. Bert and I settled down and I started to play "spot the undercover detective": it was not very difficult as they are pretty obvious. Eventually is was time to claim a position, and we got quite close to the front. There were lots of other dogs (some mutt in the front row got all the attention, but it was nowhere near as cute as my Bert). Soon enough there was a roar of motorcycles as the Victoria Police motorcycle squad arrived. Don't get me wrong, I think motorcycle outriders are a great way to escort a royal guest, but a dozen of them? No matter, before we knew it the Prince of Wales had arrived. There was a Christian group who started a chant of "we love you", complete with hand actions. I don't think the Prince quite knew what to make of them. The Prince made his way into the Australian Tapestry Workshop (stopping to pat the aforementioned mutt). I held Bert up for a look (he can be seen in some of the news reports, with his tongue hanging out), and he snorted and sneezed, all over the shoulder of a young man in front of me.

"Once he was inside we made our way around the corner to where the Prince would depart. We got a good spot in the front row next to the car. I don't think the officials had expected such a large crowd and I noticed the police were in a little huddle discussing what to do. Then, to my disappointment, we were all told to go out onto the street. I did not move fast enough and ended up about ten metres away from the car. Then, with perfect timing, it started to rain. All these fair weather royalists ran for cover (I just want to say that I consider such actions unspeakably soft: a little bit of rain never hurt anyone). Giant gaps appeared along the road and Bert and I made our move. We nabbed a perfect position just opposite the royal car. There was no guarantee that the Prince would do a walkabout, particularly as it was now raining, but I was still happy to get a good view to wave goodbye. Before long the Premier of Victoria appeared at the door, so we knew the Prince would be out in a moment. An officious woman from Government House (who earlier was most unfriendly when I asked her from where the car would depart) unfurled the Prince of Wales standard on the front of the car. A woman, about two metres away from me, started yelling "CHARLES, COME OVER HERE", and, to my surprise, it seemed to work (probably helped by the rain stopping).

Bert, the media star dog.

"The Prince headed over to meet the crowd. He looked very tired, but was in good form chatting and laughing with everyone. He was wearing his remembrance poppy, and the lapel pin of a Knight of the Order of Australia. A woman told him how much she admires the work he has done at Poundbury and he seemed genuinely pleased. He stopped in front of me and shook my hand. "Welcome back to Melbourne, Your Royal Highness" I said. He looked at my backpack, and the chap behind me who also wore a backpack, and asked; "Are you cyclists? You're all carry those great big things on your backs". I told him I use mine to hold my dog's water and water bowl. He looked down at Bert and I said "this is Bert, Sir", "Bert?" he replied (at this stage Bert, not very impressed, was standing with his bum pointed at the Prince". The Prince then said "one of these days one of them is going to take off my hand." I reassured him that Bert was more likely to lick off his hand. He then moved on, and a young man behind me, holding up a copy of a book on the restoration of Dumfries House, congratulated him on all he had done for the house. The Prince looked really chuffed.

"Then it was all over. The motorcycles were revving up, the car had crawled to the corner, and the officials were winding things up. The Prince got into the car and headed off for his next engagement at the MCG. Bert and I headed back to Spencer Street, stopping at a little park for Bert to prepare himself for the train trip home. I turned my back for a couple of seconds, and Bert went straight into the Yarra River. It is a little known fact that French Bulldogs cannot swim; they are top heavy and sink like a stone. I had images of having dive in to rescue him. But luckily he kept his foothold and came out when I called him. So all in all it was a very eventful morning. Bert is now sound asleep, oblivious to the fact that he has already appeared in a couple of news bulletins."

The Prince and Duchess arrive in Queensland

An orphaned kangaroo joey stole The Duchess of Cornwall's heart today as The Prince of Wales and his wife were welcomed to the Australian Outback.
The Duchess cuddled 12-month-old Rooby Blue during a visit to the remote rural settlement of Longreach and joked: "There's a first time for everything."

His Royal Highness also embraced the life of the bushwhacker, donning an iconic akubra hat when the royal couple visited the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, a heritage centre chronicling the pioneering cattle men who developed the Outback.

With temperatures reaching a blistering 40 degrees The Prince and his wife may have been tempted to take up an offer of an ice cold beer from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman who had welcomed Their Royal Highnesses at the airport.

But The Duchess sheltered under a parasol and said the burning sun had produced "a nice dry heat" in comparison with Papua New Guinea, where they had begun their Diamond Jubilee tour at the weekend.

It is Her Royal Highnesses' first visit to Australia and in true Aussie style the locals later held a barbecue for their visitors.

When The Duchess was introduced to the joey, being cared for by farmers Nic and Carley Walker, she said "Oh hello," then "Very friendly. Doesn't it look pretty?"

Rooby Blue, wrapped in a cloth bag to mimic her mother's pouch, was stroked under the chin by The Duchess who then happily held the animal.

The Duchess also took an interest in the orphan and gave the joey a pat on the head, prompting his wife to say: "That's so sweet."

Mrs Walker, 33, who lives with her husband and two daughters on a sheep and cattle station near Longreach, said: "She was orphaned - her mother was killed on the road. A chap that was travelling from Melbourne picked her up and pulled her from her mother's pouch.

"Someone called me and I picked her up. We've had her since August and will have her a few months more, when she will be fully released."

Mrs Walker said the royal meeting went better than expected: "Rooby is a redhead, so she is by nature temperamental. I wasn't sure if she would pop out of the pouch or kick out, but it went very well."

The Prince put on his akubra hat just before giving a speech to the local community and dignitaries.

Clearly in a relaxed mood, The Prince told the crowd of his time in Australia in the 1960s, dealing with snakes and kangaroos on cross-country runs.

Reminiscing about his time studying at Timbertop, a remote annexe of Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, he said: "I was fortunate enough to experience just a little of Outback life while I was a schoolboy in Victoria nearly 50 years ago.

"I cannot pretend to remember a great deal about my school curriculum but I can recall in every detail the long treks through the bush in searing heat. For company I remember funnel-web spiders, bull ants, leeches that could only be removed with a cigarette end, snakes of every description and kangaroos that overtook us on cross-country runs through the bush at Timbertop."

The Prince went on to say: "Ladies and gentlemen, the main reason for this 'bonza barbie' is to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with its theme of service to others.

"At the height of the British summer in June, as the rain lashed down, nine Australian surfboats fought their way down the River Thames as part of the Diamond Jubilee pageant. Although the skills of those lifesavers were not required that day, the sight of those yellow shirts reminded us of all those Australians who do their bit for their communities and the wider good."

With a population of just under 3,000 and miles from the coast, Longreach was the first port of call in the royal couple's six-day Diamond Jubilee tour of Australia before they head to New Zealand.

The town is home to the airline Qantas and in one of the company's original hangars the couple saw a demonstration by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the Prince - patron of the service's British friends - named a new plane.

In the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame they saw a display of whip cracking on horseback and inspected some bush artefacts, while the Prince was presented with a stock whip.

Rob Thomas, a director of the Hall of Fame, said the attraction reflected a dying way of life. "It's a celebration of the stockmen in opening up Australia."

But the changing economics of farming meant that farms were getting bigger, and what was once done on horseback was now done by motorcycle, car and plane, he said, adding: "But there will always be a need for stockmen. Riding horses is essential - there are some places so remote you cannot get fuel.

"And there are some wonderful old stockmen. The stockman is a tough, raw guy who can go through heat and floods. He spends months in the bush on his own. They are wiry, they are strong and they are some of the best horsemen in the world."

Their Royal Highnesses went on a walkabout towards the end of their visit and the couple chatted with the crowd, some of whom had driven for hours to see the royal visitors.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Meet the Royal Couple in Victoria



10.40 am HisRH arrives at the Australian Tapestry Workshop (an opportunity to join the Radical Royalist there to welcome Prince Charles in Victoria)

11.20 am HisRH arrives at Melbourne Cricket Ground

1.30 pm TRHs arrive at Gate 32 at Flemington Racecourse and drive down the straight to the Clocktower and mounting yard

3.15 pm HerRH will present the Melbourne Cup Trophy to winning owners

4.05 pm HisRH will present the Diamond Jubilee Plate to winning owners

HerRH will present the Diamond Jubilee Plate to the winning trainer

Stay at Government House, Melbourne overnight


10.00 am HerRH will attend a reception hosted by Mrs Elizabeth Chernov for Osteoporosis Australia at the Private Drawing Room of Government House

10.05 am HisRH will arrive at the National Gallery of Victoria

11.05 am TRHs will arrive at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School

Meet the Royal Couple in Queensland



4.00 pm Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Longreach Airport

4.15 pm THRs attend a Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) event venue: QANTAS Museum Hangar

4.55 pm TRHs arrive at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and view artefacts and displays and meet families with historical connections to the region

5.10 pm TRHs leave by foot for Cattlemen’s Bar and Grill where they attend a Diamond Jubilee Community BBQ Venue: The Cattlemen’s Bar and Grill